I was asked to bring a dessert for a recent dinner that Dave and I had with his parents. It was right before the cooler, fall weather started to kick in this past week (at last – my favorite time of year!) As much as I didn’t want to turn on the oven on a warm day, these cookies were on my mind as an idea to make for quite some time now.
It was a perfect reason to use my new KitchenAid bowl, too, which is blue ceramic with a scalloped texture.
A few years ago, I had a clear glass KA bowl with a handle and cup measurements on the side of it that I loved. Unfortunately, it shattered into a zillion pieces when I was making cookies and it slipped out of my hands and broke on my mom’s granite countertop.
They have a lot of fun patterns and textures now, which made it so hard to choose, but this one was unique and something I haven’t seen in a lot of stores. And I just love the color…
Seeing how we needed to go to dinner in a few hours, there was no time for cake or anything too elaborate. Cookies are always a winner, especially for simple BBQ cookouts like the one we were about to have that night.
To “christen” my new K-A bowl, my first thought was to make caramel-pretzel cookies. But the more I thought about it, the more I figured why not add something else?
As Dave would say, I was “micromanaging” the cookies… (according to him, I micromanage a lot. 😉 )
Fortunately, this was an occasion where not leaving well enough alone was a great idea.
Chocolate chips are a logical choice for cookies and pecans are one of my favorite nuts; they have such a wonderful flavor, especially when toasted.
As this was turning into a “kitchen sink” recipe, I reached into the pantry to see what else I could find, and I pulled out a bag of potato chips. I’ve seen potato chips added in cookie recipes in the past and was curious to try it myself. They added a salty flavor and fun, crunch factor along with the pretzels and toasted nuts.
Chips with ridges were definitely the way to go; I don’t know that chips without ridges or kettle-style chips would’ve tasted quite the same. I broke them up into small-ish pieces but definitely left them larger than one might think they should be for a cookie. As they got folded in, they broke up more until they were small, perfect bite-size pieces.
I’m already thinking about different variations on the recipe, using peanut butter and peanut butter chips, and think these will be a great addition to my cookie baking come Christmas time.
These cookies are crunchy, sweet, salty, and a little chewy from the caramel. For two small variations on the recipe, the pecans could also be substituted with peanuts or walnuts, and the chocolate chips substituted with chocolate peanut butter candies.
- 2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup)
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 ¼ cups AP flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¾ cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips set ¼ cup set aside in a small bowl
- ¾ cup mini pretzels (such as Snyders of Hanover Minis), set ¼ cup set aside in a small bowl
- ½ cup toasted pecans roughly chopped
- ½ cup potato chips with ridges
- ½ cup caramel candies unwrapped and cut in half
Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
Cream butter, brown sugar, and white sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large plastic, glass or stainless steel bowl if mixing by hand or with a hand mixer.)
While butter and sugar are creaming, measure dry ingredients in a large bowl: add flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir or whisk to combine.
In a small bowl, toss ½ cup each of the mix-ins with ¼ cup of flour. Set aside.
Add vanilla and almond extract to butter and sugar mixture, then add eggs one at a time, mixing until well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of your bowl to ensure all ingredients are properly mixed.
Add flour to butter and sugar, mixing until mostly combined. If using a stand mixer, remove the bowl and fold in by hand all of the mix-ins that were set aside in the small bowl.
Scoop cookies onto a parchment-lined baking tray, about 2 tbsp of dough per cookie. Top each cookie with a piece of caramel, a few chocolate chips, and a pretzel, pressing them in to slightly flatten the top.
Bake cookies, 12-15 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.